Clint Bowyer: “It seems like over half the employees are dirt racers.”
In 2002, Gene Haas entered the NASCAR ranks with a brand new team. The team took the green with an alliance from Hendrick Motorsports and a racing driver named Jack Sprague.
In 2008, Tony Stewart signed on as a driver for the teams 2009 season. He took a 50% stake in the company and Stewart-Haas Racing was born.
10 years later, the team two NASCAR Cup Series championships and 47 race wins. At the same time, there appears to be less employee turnover within the entire organization.
Why is that?
“Yeah, and I feel like they’re even more stable than when I was there last year. You just don’t have turnover,” Clint Bowyer says from the Texas Motor Speedway media center.
“When you look at those employee’s — Those are employee’s that wanted to go over there when it was established with Tony and they’re still there today.”
“It really just feels like family. It’s pretty at ease. It’s easy to be an employee there. When you go to the shop, you enjoy the conversation.”
“For me, it seems like over half the employee’s are dirt racers. They’re either got a kid racing a modified or helping somebody with a late model.”
Tony Stewart comes from a dirt background. Today, he still owns a dirt sprint car team. A team that has dominated the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in recent seasons.
Clint Bowyer owns a dirt late model team. That two-car operation is piloted by Don O’Neal and Darrell Lanigan in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
“They’re racers. Even the engineers — A lot of places I’ver been, you talk to an engineer and they don’t know what the hell you’re talking about when you talk about a dirt late model. You talk about some equation or something and they might get interested.”
“The engineers are like, ‘What are you running in the left rear of that deal? Or what are you doing with the right front?’ It’s a bunch of racers. All the way through from the engineers to the engine shop to the chassis shop.”
Is that a credit to Tony Stewart?
“Well, obviously it’s a credit to him. Everybody had the confidence in a champion going over there.”
Bowyer says his conversations with Gene Haas are simple. It’s short, “When are you going to win.’ or ‘What do you need to win?”
In 2018, Stewart-Haas Racing has gone to victory lane 4 times. Three of those came with Kevin Harvick and the fourth came with Clint Bowyer. There’s only been 7 races so far in the new season.
Stewart-Haas Racing made their 1000th start this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Yesterday, Kevin Harvick finished 2nd and Bowyer finished 9th.